1. Operate Your Thermostat More Efficiently

Set your thermostat at a temperature you find comfortable and that provides humidity control, if needed. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be. Keep your house warmer than normal when you are away, and lower the thermostat setting when you return home and need cooling. A programmable thermostat allows you to do this automatically and without sacrificing comfort.

2.Use the Barbeque

Trying to cook in a hot, steamy kitchen can be unbearable, especially when it’s hot and steamy outside as well. Kitchens are full of heat-producing appliances: ovens and stoves can raise your kitchen’s temperature up to 10º. To save yourself the sweat (and the higher utility bills), try using the microwave whenever possible since it uses just one-third the energy that an oven does and produces only a fraction of the heat. Another great way to take the heat out of the kitchen is to cook outdoors. Pop some burgers on the grill or invite some friends over for a barbecue. You can enjoy the great weather while you avoid raising the temperature in your home.

3. Hot Tub

The average operating cost of a hot tub is $250 per year. But that amount may be higher if your hot tub is an older, less efficient model or if you live in a colder climate. A smaller hot tub with better insulation, a cover and a pump that runs on a lower voltage will use less energy than other models. In the long run, getting a “good deal” on a used hot tub may cost more in energy bills than a newer, more efficient model.

4. Swimming Pool

If you have a swimming pool, consider installing a smaller, more efficient pump and reducing how often it runs. Putting it on a timer can be a convenient way to reduce operating time. You can also look at installing a larger filter and maximizing the flow of water through the pipes by making them larger and reducing how sharply the corners turn. These measures could cut your electric use for the pool pump by as much as 75%. Consult with a pool installation specialist to find the most efficient setup that will still keep your pool clean.

5. Pumps

If you live on acreage or a farm, you probably have several pumps, including irrigation, well, septic and sump. If you’re like most of us, you use those pumps until they break down. Consider replacing the oldest and most used pumps over time with new, more efficient ones that are sized correctly for their task. Also, make sure you’re eliminating leaks in the water lines. D